French President Jacques Chirac's trip this week to Beijing will bring into sharp focus the battle between the world's biggest aircraft makers, Europe's Airbus and Boeing of the US, for the prized Chinese market. \nAirbus Industrie, based in southwestern France, is hoping for an order of a dozen planes to emerge from the trip, French presidential sources said. \nChina could become the 14th customer for Airbus's future A380, buying five to 10 of the double-decker superjumbos, which could be delivered before the Olympic Games are held in Beijing in 2008. \nSuch a purchase would not only boost Airbus's already impressive A380 orders book, now at 129 firm orders, but would also give the European planemaker a symbolic and commercial lead over its US rival in the much sought-after Chinese market. \n"In terms of orders over the past three years, the two companies are equal," said Philippe Gassmann, the head of technology at the French economic mission in Beijing. \nBoeing, which for the first time was last year knocked out of pole position by Airbus for sales of planes with more than 100 seats, has not yet received any Chinese orders for its next-generation 7E7 Dreamliner jet. \nThe 7E7 is a medium-haul, fuel-efficient model that the US firm says is the future of civil aviation. Airbus, in contrast, is betting its future on the long-haul A380. \nChirac, who will be in China from Oct. 8 to Oct. 12, will be accompanied by a bevy of French business leaders hoping to clinch deals in areas ranging from high-speed rail links to the construction of nuclear reactors. \nBut the competition is particularly intense for the Chinese market because the stakes are so high. \nThe market will require over the next two decades 1,295 planes, according to the airplane maker China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC 1). Boeing estimates it at 2,127 and Airbus at 1,600 aircraft, according to the French economic mission. \nThese giddying estimates are based on strong growth by the three main Chinese airlines -- Beijing-based Air China, China Eastern in Shanghai, and China Southern based in Guangzhou -- but also on expansion at smaller Chinese companies such as Hainan Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Xiamen Airlines and China Yunnan. \nThey are also based on liberalization of the sector as well as on the expectation that Chinese companies will sign up to commercial alliances with the major international airlines. \n"Eastern and Southern are both already listed" on the stock market, Gassmann said. "As for Air China, it wants to be listed soon." \nSince 2002 legislation allows foreign investors to acquire up to 49 percent of a Chinese company's capital, with no one outsider taking more than 25 percent of the company. \n"Each of the three companies is aiming to join an international [airline] alliance," Gassmann added. "And each international alliance is also trying to get a foothold in China." \nChina Southern was the first to sign such a deal, allowing it to join in 2005 the Skyteam alliance that includes Air France and the US carrier Delta Airlines. \nTo achieve their aims in China, Airbus and Boeing are using the same methods -- both are lobbying intensely and both are signing industrial partnership deals with Chinese companies. \nAirbus said in June that parts of the landing gear for the A380 would be made in China, as would certain doors to be made for the cargo versions of the A330 and A340 planes. \nBoeing for its part has selected two Chinese parts suppliers for its future 7E7 in contracts believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient